The exception is cycling, but that is a mania of another nature entirely. So when the Demented One started rattling off a list of contests he has had flitting across his big screen TV at the weekend to the assembled company, the immediate reaction was that there was a pair of socks and a pipe missing from his chest of drawers or that he had been raiding the potent Tipo Tinto rum his son had brought back from a diving expedition in Mozambique.
Indeed, there was a guarded hint that the Miner had taken the later course –he never, ever admits to anything directly – during the course of a dismal match where the Crusaders all but destroyed any idea that the Stormers are title material during a 57-24 rout of the touring South African Super Rugby hopefuls in Christchurch.
“I found myself reaching for the remote control and the rum bottle,” was all the Demented One would own up to. But, somewhat surprisingly, it was the exploits of Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada as the Mumbai Indians collapsed to 24/6 in a match against the Delhi Daredevils before the South African pair turned things drastically around at the Wankede Stadium in Mumbai.
Cricket, the members of the assembled company conceded – even the slam, bang of the IPL – was a radical departure from the norm for the Demented One. “It looked like the Indians were dead and buried,” he enthused.
“Then Rabada and Morris got together. They were just klapping and klapping.” Suddenly, the interest made some sort of sense. It was the inherent V8 violence of two batsmen putting a bowling attack to the sword, rather than any subtle nuances filtering down from the five-day game which had attracted him. This was the action he craved.
But the Demented One had another surprise to spring … he had tuned in to the Chelsea FA Cup semifinal against an upbeat Tottenham side who had closed to within four points on their London rivals in the league title race.
The Miner had never, as far as the gathering could remember, voiced the slightest interest in English football and just who it was he had ever supported during a lifetime dedicated to being ruled by the chaos theory, remain shrouded in doubt.
“What a game,” he enthused. “It had everything. I see now why so many people watch the game with such passion. But I must say,” he added, reverting one of sport’s most overworked cliches, “the better side won and Chelsea must be the team to sweep everyone else aside this season”.
Seemingly unaware of the bemused glances that greeted the Demented One’s sudden emergence as a sporting pundit, he delivered the line which proved that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
“I also watched the practice for the American MotoGP. Those guys fly. I’m definitely going to wait up late to watch the race. “But while I’m waiting, one of you can buy me a double Klippies and Coke.”